Integrating Sustainability into Traditional Education: Revamping the M.B.A.

Business school graduates who understand the concepts of sustainability and demonstrate practical knowledge, stand a better chance at landing positions with today’s leading companies.

Giselle Weybrecht is the author of The Sustainable MBA: A Business Guide to Sustainability (2nd edition 2014 Wiley). She has 20 years of experience working in the field of sustainability and business with a focus on embedding sustainability into management programs. She is Special Advisor to the UN Global Compact and works with a wide range organizations, business schools, and businesses globally on engaging students and employees in making sustainability a part of every job, regardless of the job. @gweybrecht

Why did you decide to take on the challenge of getting business schools to implement and adapt sustainability into their curriculum?

I spent many years working with the United Nations on the sustainability issues in particular water. Back then, there was a distinct lack of engagement from the business sector. It was clear to me that in order to move forward, we had to involve them.

So I decided to learn the language of business. I wanted to understand how the next generation of business leaders were being trained. With this in mind, I enrolled at London School of Business.

What struck me odd right away was that the students and the faculty at the business school knew little of the world I had just come from and the sustainability concepts I had always been immersed in never came up in the context of classes within the business degree.

Many of the students became interested in the topics I was discussing. At that point, I knew it was important to help schools integrate sustainability practices and processes into their curriculums and campuses. I started working on my book during my business degree, writing simple one-page briefs that introduced sustainability and correlating it to traditional business degree disciplines.

My goal was to raise awareness and show that sustainability is integrated into business and not separate. When I graduated I spent a year interviewing business leaders from around the world and wrote The Sustainable MBA: A Business Guide on Sustainability. The book introduces sustainability as it relates to the core business topics: Accounting, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, HR, Operations, Strategy, and Marketing, and gives tips and tools for readers to bring sustainability into their job, regardless of what job they have. It is currently used by university students at all levels around the world as well as a large number of businesses to train their employees.